Why Manage Better?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What is TQM?

What is TQM?

The best source to go for this is Dr. J M Juran's teachings on TQM. The next best is to refer to the Baldrige award criteria.

I will try to present a summary of Dr. JMJ's view on TQM.

Customer Satisfaction
Employee Empowerment
Cost/Waste Reduction
Revenue Improvement.

Quality Planning
Quality Control
Quality Improvement.

This is also known as the Juran Trilogy.

Total Quality System
Customer-Supplier Chain
Organization-Wide Involvement
Measurement and Information
Education and Training.

Strategic Quality Planning
Executive Leadership
Customer Focus.

The above model is explained in JMJ’s courses and also described in some of his books. You may also refer his books – Quality, Planning, and Analysis and Managerial Breakthrough.

The Baldrige model also provides a comprehensive treatment of TQM. It is important to understand that unlike techniques such as Six Sigma and Balanced Scorecard, TQM is a larger body of knowledge. Several authors have taken a shot to develop a model for TQM but in my view only Juran’s work and the Baldrige model come close. And even this maybe incomplete.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Resistance to Change May Not be Injurious to Org Health!

Why do we only toe a line that resistance is bad for change? It may actually be good. It works like a good opposition in a democracy. If there wasn't friction we could see meaningless change everyday...and that would be more chaos than we already have. Let's not always assume that friction and resistance is not a good thing.

If people with 15 years or more experience have a view should we not listen to it with empathy? And make changes in our plans, if required. I manage change for a living and face resistance all the time. And in many cases the one’s resisting have a damn good point. It is the job of the change agent to listen, learn, and modify his/her plans. This need not be seen as weakness or lack of conviction. It should be seen as flexibility and empathy. For, if the people who have to live the change feel that they have been listened to, the change process will be better off.

Assuming, that some of you agree with this point of view, I also realize that in many cases we face resistance which defies logic. Here, I like to use something that the Quality Guru, J M Juran wrote. There are two kinds of change. One is a technological change and the other is the social consequence of the technological change. It is the social consequence which is often ignored and becomes a problem. If we can focus on this social consequence early in the change cycle, chances are we will have less resistance.

I also advocate celebration as a means of reducing likely resistance. Involve all in celebrating milestones and it could help. In some cases if the ‘contamination’ is dangerous, we must put our foot down and insist that some behavior will not be tolerated. If this comes from senior management it is likely to be believed. I have also tried having a heart to heart talk – let’s give this a fair chance kind of talk. If the change works then it was meant to work and if it doesn’t it wasn’t meant to work.

In summary, resistance and friction is not necessarily a bad thing if we have an open mind to it. When such friction is not useful, early involvement and decisive intolerance to bad behavior helps.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cultural Change - Elephant in the Room

It is often argued that inspite of several tools/techniques there is little cultural change acros organizations. A friend, put a question on LinkedIn - What could be possible reasons for not seeing the transformation and what could be done about the same?

Has it ever occurred to us that we could be lacking in assessing a change in culture. I find it difficult to believe that we all know when culture has changed. Maybe we don't.

Unless we tackle your question at specifics it will remain an intellectual or academic discussion only. Nothing wrong with it but I don't think you were looking for that.

Cultural change is a vast body of knowledge and is much like the proverbial elephant in the room. We all have a definition for it. Some of us will believe adoption of tools (such as Lean and Six Sigma) will lead to cultural change. Many others will feel cultural change leads to adoption of such tools.

What is cultural change? I am least qualified to comment on this but will try. If fundamental behaviors of most people in the company change and as a result more is achieved (or less also) we could say culture has changes. For example, a service company could become more service oriented or customer friendly. Take CSIR as an example. Under Dr. R A Mashelkar, this organization saw a dramatic change in culture from doing research for long years to become one of world's leading research (with results) organization. He instituted several game changing practices - the most radical one being, closing down research projects which could not deliver research targets in time.

In my view organizational culture is always changing - only the scale of time is in years or decades.

The question was - What could be possible reasons for not seeing the transformation and what could be done about the same?

While most may argue that culture does not change...my argument is that it changes but we are unable to notice the change in most cases. Probably because we are looking for something that we want. And in looking for that specific change we miss the other changes. I am assuming you are referring to positive/beneficial change. Also, when we seek cultural change, what behavioural changes are we looking for. If we can find a way of measuring this then it's easier to figure out if culture changed.

I must also add that it is a bit naive to assume that an organization's deep rooted culture will change because it adopted lean, six sigma, or some other tool. Just as it is a bit naive to assume that there is a problem with culture all the time.

Whatever cultural change I have seen, and I have very limited experience, is a result of a 'fire-in-the-belly' vision, a worthwhile purpose, customer orientation, employee focus, metrics approach, process that back-up all the above, and a focus on key results. Some organic mix of the above leads to a change in culture over time.

I doubt, if gunning for a change in culture as a pre-condition is a useful thing to do. If it is an output of a series of beneficial changes over a period of time, we should consider us lucky.

So in summary, let's not point our guns at organizational culture so early. It might need to be changed. And moreover, we may not know what is changing unless we look for it with a very open mind.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Learning from Failed Change Programs

I have so often been in situations where we (me included) are not keen to look at failed change programs critically. We are not honest about the reasons or can't put it on paper due to organizational issues.

1. Speak to the people involved in the earlier (failed) change. It helps if you can generate trust and seek information on what won't be there in emails and closure reports.

2. Engage the current team to discuss the reasons. As frank as possible will help. This is a tough one - most of us are at our enthusiastic best and believe that the current change will not meet the fate the earlier one did. This could be blind faith.

3. List down the failure modes (FMEA) and identify what you can do about them. Early detection is a good thing in any field (not just medicine).

4. Keep re-visiting these failure modes in your reviews. This is again tough. We all tend to go with the flow and forget many of these steps. I have tried including this in agenda items. It helps.

5. Get your program critically audited/reviewed. Try and use a person from the team that had the failed program.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Role of PMO in Change Programs

I prefer to take the PDCA approach here as well. If the PMO can follow PDCA principles, aim high, be grounded, and take people with them, a change program has good chances to succeeded. Of course, the BIG pre-requisite is - the change that is being managed was required.

It is similar to saying - a poor product rarely does well due to good marketing or a movie with a poor story rarely does well due to special effects or marketing!

Plan the Change
The PMO needs to work closely with the Leadership teams to design the change program. It is useful to first have the big picture and then look for details. I often ask a question in such design - What will happen if we don't roll out this change? There is no point asking for change if we are not very clear about why. Often, new Leaders want to push change (dramatic ones) to establish their arrival. This is suicidal for all.

Do the Change
The PMO cannot afford to be a coordinator alone. No longer. If the PMO is just going to push dates and reminders they will lose respect quickly. They must participate in the process. And should appear to be flexible, even if they can't be flexible. A key lesson is to allow small wins to the people in the process but remain unmoved on the larger goals.

Check Progress of Change
This is the phase that most Change Managers confuse as their main role. It is not. And never should be. I am yet to see a change program be successful because the program office did the chasing very well! Use technology but don’t be a slave to it. Pick up the phone and speak. Walk across to people. Talk to people. You are a part of the change.

Act on Gaps in Change Progress
Why check progress if you can't or don't act on it. Key lesson - don't be seen as a messenger to the leadership team. Be involved and use your brains in escalating selectively. Help people close implementation gaps. Appear useful.

Overall - Change is an organic process. If you can remain forever aware of this then things usually work out. And always remember, no amount of change management sells a wrong decision.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Leadership Training?

I recently responded to a post - Paradigm shift in Leadership Training. Am sharing my views here.

The question asked if we thought a paradigm shift was required in our attitude towards Leadership Training.

First, my cynical view - this question mixes two to the most abused terms today. Leadership and Paradigm. I am appalled really at what is sometimes presented as leadership training (sic!). Two hour sessions with some interactive game thrown in is leadership at times. Many of the trainers I see are far from being a role model in what they do...and they want to be leadership trainers. I don't want to bring in age here...but that appears to be a factor. 25 year old leadership trainers!!! No offense to age but some experience helps.

Training for leadership? There is little evidence to support that it works. Coaching/Mentoring for Leadership. Yes!

My view on the paradigm change in leadership training (I am flowing with the term only for consistency with the question) - We will move to Coaching/Mentoring for leadership from 'training'. This will be linked to results. Much of this Coaching/Mentoring will be 'evolved' for each client. I also think Leadership training will finally realize that leadership is not about 'good behavior alone - its about performance, helping others perform, developing other leaders, and more.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick Tips for Business Excellence Site Visits

I answered a question on 'Site Visits' on LinkedIn today. Thought the answer will make a good post. Here it is:

I find most site visits could be improved significantly. Here are my top five.
1. Do your Home Work well. This includes developing good site visit questions and allocating among examiners.

2. Plan interview sessions in advance. Keep enough time for each interview as most of them spillover.

3. Never ask a question verbatim from your cheklist. Build a conversation.

4. Never lose sight of body language and what the host is not telling you because you are not asking.

5. Establish credibility and develop trust with the host.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Danger Zones: The Tougher Questions of the Baldrige Criteria

The September 2009 issue of Quality Progress (published by the American Society for Quality, ASQ) carried my artile on the tougher questions in the Baldrige Criteria.

In this article, I share 10 questions/aspects of the MBNQA criteria that are vital for an organization’s success. The rigorous Baldrige criteria force organizations to deal with difficult questions about their operations. Most organizations avoid these questions, only to struggle with their improvement efforts. Answering the questions adequately and appropriately can be the key to reaching higher levels of business excellence.

A summary of the questions I have highlighted in the article are:

1. Succession planning − "How do senior leaders personally participate in succession planning and the development of future organizational leaders?"

2. Identify customers, markets − "How do you identify customers, customer groups and market segments?"

3. Strategy development − "How do you collect and analyze relevant data and information pertaining to the following factors as part of your strategic planning process?”

4. Link objectives, challenges − "How do your strategic objectives address your strategic challenges and strategic advantages?"

5. HR plan − "What are your key HR plans to accomplish your short and longer-term strategic objectives and action plans?"

6. Review to improve, innovate − "How do you translate organizational performance review findings into priorities for continuous and breakthrough improvement and into opportunities for innovation?"

7. Motivation − "How do you determine the key factors that affect workforce engagement? How do you determine the key factors that affect workforce satisfaction?"

8. Leadership development − "How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your workforce and leadership development and learning systems?"

9. Core competencies − "How does your organization determine core competencies?"

10. Best practices − "How improvements and lessons learned are shared with other organizational units and processes to drive organizational learning and innovation?"

This article has highlighted some very tough questions from the Baldrige criteria, with the intent of focusing attention on questions and difficult issues that tend to remain hidden. I think that focusing on these questions has a domino effect on the remaining requirements of the criteria.

Please visit www.qualityprogress.com to read the entire article.

Secret Sauce for Six Sigma

Happy to share my latest article published on SixSigmaIQ.com.

In this article I discuss why a fertile soil is essential for Six Sigma (or any management technique) to do well. The article uses examples from how GE and Motorola were ripe and ready for Six Sigma. Not everyone is. It is critical to invest in a foundation before an all out Six Sigma program.

Link: http://www.sixsigmaiq.com/article.cfm?externalID=987

Friday, June 26, 2009

Which quality guru contributed the most and why?

Robert Thomson, a member of my LinkedIn network recently asked this question. It's a deceptive question. The more you think about it the tougher it gets. I almost decided I don't have the credentials to answer it. But then I looked at the few answers that Robert had already received. Most appeared to be saying - Deming. Nothing wrong with it since each one of them also said it was their personal opinion. I decided to say what I feel. J M Juran is my favorite quality guru.

Here is what he asked with my answer:

Which quality guru contributed the most and why?

The Quality Gurus—Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Dr. Joseph Juran, Philip Crosby, Armand V. Feigenbaum, Dr. H. James Harrington, Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, Dr. Walter A. Shewhart, Shigeo Shingo, Frederick Taylor, and Dr. Genichi Taguchi—have made a significant impact on the world through their contributions to improving not only businesses, but all organizations including state and national governments, military organizations, educational institutions, healthcare organizations, and many other establishments and organizations.

However, which quality guru contributed the most and why?

Firstly, it is unfair to compare such luminaries. Especially by us who are so far away from being even close to their levels. But if I do have to pick One, and I think that was your intent, then it is Dr. Joseph Moses Juran (JMJ) without a doubt. If I had to pick two – Juran and Deming; three – Juran, Deming, and Shewhart.

Some research is required before we answer a question like this. Unless we are okay with allowing perception and hype to overtake our judgment. I have referred to biographies and published literature on Juran and Deming before commenting.

JMJ was a the first Quality consultant - he created the industry.
JMJ concepts are fundamental to quality - Trilogy of planning, control, and improvement; Pareto analysis; Universal improvement cycle of diagnostic and remedial journey (Six Sigma was later an improvement on this)...long list.
JMJ highlighted the importance of quality improvement and management’s role in it well before other Gurus.
JMJ won the Japanese highest civil honor before other Guru's - he has a temple in Japan in his name and was offered the naming of the Nippon prize in his name (This prize is for winners of Deming prize).
JMJ was also instrumental in setting up what is known as ASQ today.
JMJ’s books – Managerial Breakthrough; Quality, Planning, and Analysis; Quality by Design; Handbook – all are seminal works. Generations have benefitted from his work.

If another Guru has hogged more limelight it is only because JMJ was a mild mannered man, content in his service to humanity. He had turned down naming of the Japan prize in his name only because he would feel awkward.

No offence to Deming but his move to the so called ‘holistic quality’ was very late in life. He became popular only after a 1980 TV show erroneously presented him as the ‘sole’ architect of Japanese quality. An error the producers later regretted. Some research will tell us that Juran was invited by JUSE once they realized that Deming’s SQC needed to be complimented with improvement efforts. To give credit where it is due, it was Deming who suggested Juran’s name.

My apologies if I have sounded offending towards other Gurus. I am nobody to judge Gurus.